"Show me something pretty"

Monday, November 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

"It's always summer somewhere."

- Lilly Pulitzer

* image via Pretty Stuff

The Great State

I'm officially returning to beautiful San Francisco in 2 weeks. What better way to celebrate than to make a post dedicated to Atlantic-Pacific's latest photo shoot with the Golden Gate Bridge smack dab in the middle? I love how she's not afraid to wear magenta capris in November. I guess only in California...

* images via Atlantic-Pacific

Gift Guide: The Foodie

The foodie: my personal favorite kind of person to give gifts to. The possibilities are truly endless, and an added bonus? If you're super lucky, you might get to sample some of the tasty treats that are a product of your gifts.

St. Helena Olive Oil Co. Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce


Vintage Books Boxed Set of cook books


Nudo Straight From the Grove Festive Selection Olive Oil Box

"Gather six friends and head to the farm, where you will participate in a hands-on learning experience. Farmer Jack Algiere will host an edible garden lesson and help participants plot their own home-based garden. Next, you'll receive a cooking demonstration from Chef-Kitchen Director Adam Kaye, followed by a four-course lunch featuring the best seasonal ingredients."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Most Wanted: Tili Bags

You know when you see something brilliant and want to smack yourself for not thinking of it yourself? Well, I've found the ultimate smack-inducing item ever: Tili (or Take It Or Leave It) Bags. They were invented by a young woman who noticed how often she used plastic bags to organize life's odds and ends. One day, she looked into her bag and realized how boring plain old clear plastic was, so she created her own reusable and sealable (in other words totally usefully) ziplock bags in the cutest colors and patterns you've ever seen (and sold for prices you wouldn't imagine). If you don't believe me, take a look below.

* images via Tili Bags

Just In Time

If for some reason, you're in need of a perfectly portable Thanksgiving dessert, look no further than Piece of Cake's Pumpkin Swirled White Chocolate Brownies. If I could find canned pumpkin in this country for less than 10 euro, I would most definitely be making these!

Pumpkin-Swirled White Chocolate Brownies

Makes 12

Use either chocolate chips or chopped bar chocolate here, I won’t judge. My favorite brand of canned pumpkin is Libby’s; it has the most fabulous, vibrant color of any storebought puree I’ve found.

These bars are the ultimate make-ahead dessert–they are infinitely better the day after they’re baked.

For the pumpkin swirl:
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt

For the white chocolate brownie batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces white chocolate, chips or chopped bar chocolate
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line it with an 8-inch wide strip or foil or parchment, and lightly spray for extra nonstick insurance.

To make the swirl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg, brown sugar, flour, vanilla, spices and salt until smooth. Set aside.

For the batter, sift together the flour and salt into a small bowl. In a large heatproof bowl, combine the white chocolate and the butter. Melt together in the microwave with 30-second bursts of high power, stirring well after each interval. Whisk the in the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until no dry pockets remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Dollop the pumpkin mixture over the batter in five or six equal portions. Use a knife to swirl the pumpkin into the batter with figure-8 motions. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly dry, with a couple moist crumbs, about 30 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting and serving (and if you can wait a day to serve them, you will be rewarded with amazing flavor and texture).

* image and recipe via Piece of Cake

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Most Wanted: Leather Goods

In the land of leather goods (aka Rome), it's a daily effort not to give into the temptation of beautiful boots and bags. But what about leather goods of a more practical nature? Surely there should be no guilt in purchasing a crocodile-skin passport holder or lime green pocket calender? Especially when you can personalize the item (a guarantee against ever losing it ;) which is possible when buying from Graphic Images. Take a look and swoon.

* images via Graphic Image

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

"She loved him absolutely, perhaps for half an hour."

- Howards End, E.M. Forster

* image via Pretty Stuff

Keep It Natural

Moss-covered steps, dramatic bluffs, al fresco dining, Gisele and her perfectly beachy hair...all these photos make me want to do is be outside! Luckily, the weather in Rome is still gorgeous, but I have a feeling when I return home to weather more appropriate to winter time, these will be the perfect images to look at when I'm craving the great outdoors.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quote of the Day

"You're the only girl I've seen for a very long time that actually did look like something blooming."

- F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night

* image via Fallon Elizabeth

Most Wanted: Books

With the weather dropping (slightly in Italy), there's nothing I want to do more than curl up with a good read and a giant cup of something warm. As impressive as Kindles, iPads and various other tablets are, there is something to be said for the real thing. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it's nice to at least look at! Here's a list of books currently on my Amazon wishlist. When I get home, the first thing I'm buying is a new book (forget sushi and hamburgers).

As someone who eagerly awaits my monthly Vogue in the mail, this gorgeous coffee table book seems like it was made for me. All the iconic photographers are in here: Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Annie Leibovitz, and Mario Testino. This would would definitely help ease the time in between issues and be the perfect Christmas gift for me.

This book by the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides has been getting major buzz. The epigraph alone is intriguing: "People would never fall in love if they hadn't heard love talked about." - La Rochefoucauld. With locales ranging from Cape Cod to India, this One Day-esque book is the type to easily hook me in.

I recently took an American Civil War course and am now obsessed with all things antebellum, secession, and Reconstruction related. This memoir deals with all three, told from the perspective of a wealthy Southern woman named Mary. Comprised of her diaries and letters, it provides an intimate account of turbulent time in our history.

I loved Melanie Dunea's first book about what famous chefs from all over the world would choose as their last meal. This time around, she interviewed and photographed Joel Robuchon, Tom Colicchio, and 48 others.

I devoured Ken Follett's two novels about life in Middle Ages England and can only imagine the saga he's weaved about World War One. He has a real knack for creating characters so believable that I was actually sad when the books ended!

With two new movies about Marilyn Monroe and one about Jackie Kennedy being released this year, it seems the public's fascination with these two iconic women is nowhere near waning. Fine by me! I can't get enough information about them so this book is right up my ally. Prompted by an episode of Mad Men in which a character claims that every woman is either a "Marilyn" or a "Jackie", the author decided to write a book filled with quotes, anecdotes, and lessons learned from the legends.

Ever since reading The Things They Carried in high school, I've loved learning more about the Vietnam War told from the eyes of those who fought in it. This book received accolade after accolade when it came out last year. It looks graphic and gritty for sure, but all the more riveting because of it.

Rebecca is one of my all time favorite books and I've never actually read another novel by its author. There's something so fun about reading a creepy thriller during this time of year when it gets dark earlier and earlier. The perfect atmosphere for things that go bump in the night...

I may be one of the only people left who hasn't read Tina Fey's memoir, but that's only piqued my interest more! From what I've heard, the book is just as laugh out loud funny as 30 Rock so I can't wait to get my hands on it.

I think it would be impossible for me to own too many cookbooks, and this one seems different from any other one I possess. It's comprised solely of recipes that chefs cook for their staff once all of their patrons have cleared out. The food looks simple, quick, and most importantly, delicious.

Last but not least, a true classic. Set in the glamorous French Riviera during the 1920s,
it is a tragic romance of which Ernest Hemingway said: "It's amazing how excellent much of it

Hopefully you're now inspired to starting making a wishlist of your own. Now, which one
should I start with?